Ashley Delima releases ‘Cigarette’

As Ashley Delima’s career develops, you see the clear markers of a talent with the durability to last decades as a force on the music scene. Her latest single “Cigarette”, a stunning successor to the earlier “Stay in America”, brings this into sharp relief. It amply shows why she has scored a coveted recording deal, stands on the precipice of released her debut EP Young & Unafraid, and has earned valued endorsement deals from corporate brands like Mac Cosmetics and GAP. Her continuing desire to challenge herself and listeners reaches a new height with “Cigarette” – this is personal like the earlier “Stay in America”, but from a much different corner of her heart as she tackles the thorny theme of an unhealthy relationship with a level of maturity we often fail to hear from much older and more established artists.

Her voice is at the center of it all. She lives every line and note of the song with an all encompassing drama that is never overwrought and strikes the right tone throughout the entirety of the performance. Singer and vehicle are in ideal balance here – often a good singer will be paired with a mediocre song or a bad singer will ruin an otherwise stellar composition. That’s far from the case here. Instead, the unity and seamlessness of the performance, undoubtedly influenced by her collaboration with A-list producer Marc Swersky, sets a new benchmark for her burgeoning career that she shows both the talent and ambition to surpass or equal with future efforts. There’s no stopping a singer working at this level and surrounding herself with such formidable creative forces.


Swersky and songwriter Brielle Brown share songwriting credits with Delima on this track, but the lyrics never feel or sound like anything less than a cry from her own soul, tempered by finesse and an appealing sonic arch that brings us from one verse into the next, through multiple passages, with a confident glide. The acoustic guitar and subtle production touches punctuating the voyage never strike a false note – instead, they enhance the overall package and shape our listening experience in a honest way, never manipulating our emotions. The lyrics are bursting with multiple double meanings and metaphors that, in the context of the pop genre, are often nothing less than stunning, even revelatory.

Only the deaf or resolutely cynical could fail to recognize what is at work here. Ashley Delima’s “Cigarette” is a fully realized songwriting and listening experience drawing us into its world from the first and the video released with the song hits on all its points without ever obscuring the musical experience. The contributions of guest star $tandard, a rising talent in his own right, put an exclamation point on the track as well and it proves to be an inspired pairing illustrating the respect she commands from her contemporaries. “Cigarette” is more than just another great pop single – it is a personal, signature experience that you will revisit over and over again. It will linger in your memory long after the song concludes.


Gwen Waggoner